Degrees of Separation: A Targeted Approach to U.S.-China Decoupling – Final Report
October 21, 2021
The CSIS Economics Program launched Degrees of Separation to establish clearer objectives for U.S. engagement with China and to assess whether disengagement from specific economic activities can help in meeting such objectives.
The interim report reviewed the evolution of the U.S.-China relationship and identified six distinct areas that motivated U.S.-China engagement from 1972 through the end of the Trump administration: (1) geostrategy; (2) economics; (3) human rights and civil society; (4) global rules and norms; (5) global public goods; and (6) technology and innovation. This final report presents a framework for assessing specific economic activities as candidates for targeted decoupling, along with findings from three illustrative case studies designed to test it: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and financial flows. The hope is that such a framework, which forces the identification of risks as well as U.S. objectives, can boost transparency and predictability, lessen regulatory uncertainty, and support engagement between the United States and China in areas that do not unacceptably compromise U.S. national security.
This report is made possible through the generous support of the Smith Richardson Foundation.